Posts tagged with "friend" - Faerye Net 2011-07-20T16:28:37+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Superreaders 2011-07-20T16:28:37+00:00 2011-07-20T16:32:34+00:00 <p>My mother, I told a fellow author once, is the kind of reader you want. One time I recommended <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780547085753'><em>The Hearts of Horses</em></a> by <a href="" target="links">Molly Gloss</a> to my mom &mdash; actually, I may have bought it for her as a present. Either way, she loved it. She bought several more hardback copies to give as birthday presents, and I am pretty sure once the trade paperback was out, she bought <em>two</em> extras to lend out to friends. I stress the two because buying one extra copy of a book she owns and loves is fairly ordinary for my mom. She sticks her return address labels on the extra copies and presses them into the hands of the friends and quilters with which her life abounds.</p> <p>One library copy of your book, I&#8217;ve been told, translates to some number of readers &#8212; and those readers may in turn recommend your book, buy their own copy, or buy it as a gift. My mom, I&#8217;m convinced, is even better than a library, if she loves your book. In the case of <em>Hearts of Horses</em>, she probably bought at least five copies herself, and spurred some unknown quantity of other purchases.</p> <p>I used to think of this specifically as something my mother does, until the other day I was talking books with my friend Dan. I know Dan reads ravenously and always has, and he is free with his recommendations. But as he pressed a <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780825462900'>historical murder mystery</a> into my hands, I protested, &#8220;My to-read list is over 250 books long! If you give this to me, you&#8217;re not likely to get it back.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Oh, I don&#8217;t count on getting any book back that I lend out,&#8221; he said. &#8220;If I was worried, I&#8217;d buy a second copy to lend.&#8221; Suddenly, I realized: Dan is constantly extolling his favorite books. He lends books like you&#8217;re doing him a favor by taking them off his hands. I&#8217;m pretty sure he drove his friends&#8217; reading as early as middle school (although I didn&#8217;t know him then, so it&#8217;s merest hearsay.) Dan is like my mom. Perhaps like <a href="" target="links">my friend Jan</a>, the English teacher with the vast bookshelf of lending books for her students &#8212; books she buys herself. They&#8217;re <em>superreaders</em>.</p> <p>This is not meant to impute miraculous powers. While I imagine it&#8217;s easier to consume large stacks of literature and promote the chosen few if you read quickly, superspeed is not the defining characteristic: not being content simply to read and enjoy is. These people are boosters, and part of their enjoyment of reading is sharing it. These are the people who will drive the sort of social recommending model I envisioned in <a href="" target="links">&#8220;The Future of Genre&#8221;</a>. They&#8217;re tastemakers, pushers, book evangelists.</p> <p>Who do you know that takes their love of reading out of the page and into the world? Are you a superreader?</p> Plug plug - Kelley Caspari's Sculpture 2011-06-08T10:36:42+00:00 2011-06-08T10:37:10+00:00 <p>My good friend <a href="" target="links">Kelley Caspari</a> is a splendid sculptor, who&#8217;s been working hard on a project she wants to show at Worldcon. She doesn&#8217;t like stasis, which is a challenge for a sculptor. She&#8217;s taking it on by creating narrative in a bust: she chooses a pair of archetypical characters from stories and myth, and sculpts one bust: half one character, half the other.</p> <p>Kelley&#8217;s an amazing artist and the attention to detail is pretty stellar.</p> <center><img src="" /><br /> <strong>Blind</strong> by Kelley Caspari<br /> More angles and details (whose tail is that in the witch&#8217;s hair?) on Kelley&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">Kickstarter</a>.</center> <p>This is just one of the two busts, the witch/king one. To see her siren/sailor piece, click on through to Kelley&#8217;s <a href="" target="links">Kickstarter page</a>. You can help her name that one, whether or not you donate to her project!</p> <p>These sculptures are done, but they need to be cast in bronze so that Kelley can show them at Worldcon (imagine trying to transport hundreds of hours of your life in the form of mushy clay in crates), so that&#8217;s what her Kickstarter campaign is all about. I&#8217;m spreading the word about Kelley&#8217;s project because I love her work and I believe it should have a wider audience &#8212; even if you aren&#8217;t able to donate yourself, I hope if you like her sculptures, you&#8217;ll spread the word with a tweet or blog post or status update or what-have-you. She only has four more days to make up the last fourth of her goal! And that is my shameless plug for the month, if not the year.</p> A little ambition is a dangerous thing 2011-03-24T15:33:47+00:00 2011-03-24T16:35:00+00:00 <center><img src="" width="236" height="500" alt="8-year-old gaming sketch" /></a><br /> <em>A drawing I did of an Exalted character c. 2003. &#8220;Good enough&#8221; for what?</em></center> <p>I&#8217;ve never thought much of myself as an artist. All right, that&#8217;s a lie: as a child, I thought I was pretty awesome. But I was also pretty sure I would someday find a magic sword in a stone, so take my cherished beliefs with all the salt you like. And even then, I could tell that I didn&#8217;t have an overpowering natural gift: it took a lot of work for me to get a drawing up to second-place snuff, when the first-place kid tossed his off in no time. I admit, this may have discouraged me. While my mom, herself dissuaded from trying at art at a young age, forbade me to say I was &#8220;bad at drawing&#8221;, I decided to be cheerfully &#8220;mediocre at drawing&#8221; or at best &#8220;okay at drawing&#8221;.</p> <p>In my adult life, I mostly use the &#8220;okay&#8221; drawing skills I nursed through Drawing classes and Scientific Illustration activity to draw my <a href="" target="links">roleplaying game</a> characters. (It&#8217;s okay, if you were on this website you would have worked out that I&#8217;m a giant dork eventually.) My spotty skills are enough, usually, to falter out a much-corrected portrait of my character that satisfies me. The clothes are usually just right. Often I am pleased with the face. The pose is almost always awkward.</p> <p>I made the dreadful mistake of showing these things to my friend <a href="" target="links">Lee Moyer</a>. Lee is an immensely talented and prolific professional artist and illustrator. Very professional. I can&#8217;t remember why I committed the mad act of showing him my sketchbook, but probably because we were going to <a href="" target="links">Ambercon</a> together, and he would inevitably see me scribbling at some point. Might as well preemptively show him the whole ugly mess, I must have thought.</p> <p>Well, he didn&#8217;t cry out in horror, and to my knowledge he didn&#8217;t lose sanity points. Instead, he did the next-worst thing: he encouraged me. He told me that with more discipline, I could draw well. He told me that with better tools, I could draw more quickly. Somehow I&#8217;d managed to get my innate ambition and perfectionism to overlook this one area, but now it has noticed art again, and all may well be lost. Because if I <em>can</em> do well at something, then of course I had jolly well better. All these years, I&#8217;ve been trying to make the individual drawing better without working on my overall skills, without spending time preparing, working things out, or getting references. The end results may have been within my bounds of satisfaction, but they could have been much better much faster if I&#8217;d been willing to work on my drawing as a whole and give the activity a little more time.</p> <p>Now that I am ambitious about drawing again, it&#8217;s hard to believe I managed not to be for so long. I try to imagine someone with just an ounce of talent telling me, &#8220;It&#8217;s okay, I don&#8217;t need to get better at writing: I only use it for my <span class="caps">RPG</span> character journals.&#8221; Why wouldn&#8217;t you get better at something if you could? Why do something if it&#8217;s not worth practicing? What was I thinking?</p> <p>And what am I in for now? (One thing&#8217;s almost certain: you will be seeing a lot more &#8220;cross-training&#8221; posts about the similarities between writing and visual art.)</p> Blogrolinage 2008-08-08T13:18:09+00:00 2008-08-08T13:18:09+00:00 <p>So I finally created a <a href="" target="links">blogroll</a>. I didn&#8217;t do this for a long time because when I first started blogging, it seemed more than likely that people who were reading my blog already knew each other&#8217;s blogs. But now, after my <span class="caps">MFA</span> program, I know a lot more bloggers, so I thought I&#8217;d link them here.</p> <p>This blogroll will eventually be linked in the sidebar under Oddments, as &#8220;Friends&#8221;. I have used real names for bloggers who do so, leaving off last names or using handles by the same criterion. If you&#8217;re a bloggin&#8217; friend of mine and you are not on the list, it may be because I thought you weren&#8217;t updating any more, or because I didn&#8217;t know if linking to you would break your desired level of anonymity. These are not all the blogs I read. That list would be long, fluctuate a great deal, and involve scads of people I don&#8217;t know, let alone call &#8216;friend&#8217;. There are a few blogs I read whose authors I&#8217;ve met only in passing, but don&#8217;t really know, so those aren&#8217;t listed.</p> Where I write just now 2008-07-11T15:24:03+00:00 2008-07-11T15:25:00+00:00 <p>My friend <a href="" target="links">Alissa Nielsen</a> was inspired by <a href="" target="links">these photos of writers&#8217; rooms</a> in the <em>Guardian</em> to post her own. She asks her friends to respond in kind.</p> My offering is somewhat embarrassing; I don&#8217;t write in a proper writing room at present, or at a desk, or with books within reach. My original scheme was to have a computer desk and a writing desk, partition the two activities; but my writing desk is a family heirloom of sorts (modeled by Qubit below) and I elected to leave it with my parents rather than risk it on the move to California. <p><center><a href="" target="links"> <img src="" alt="Qubit poses on my writing desk" title="Cat, no raven, writing desk" border="0"> </a><br /></center> Thus, I am without a writing desk. Now, my computer desk has a writing surface, but since my keyboard drawer was damaged by the movers, the writing surface is for keyboards. All this did not stop me completely from writing there, but the weather has; it&#8217;s the hottest little <del>oven</del> room in the house. So this is my writing space at present: <p><center><a href="" target="links"> <img src="" alt="Nomadic writing camp" title="Nomadic writing camp" border="0"> </a><br /></center> I&#8217;ve gone nomadic. I purchased the truly awesome lapdesk when I sold my story, and it&#8217;s serving me well. You also see extra fountain pen cartridges (in the red lipstick case), a manuscript to revise, my Powerbook if I need to look something up, and in the offing, Qubit, who minced into the first photo and set up shop. <p>Is this ideal? Maybe not. But it&#8217;s airy, comfortable, and gets the job done. Maybe someday I will feel secure enough somewhere to set up a really good writing space. But with renting and moving&#8230;this works for me. Many of my stories have been worked on with less; on a knee while I wait for a ride or sit on the <span class="caps">MAX</span>. Maybe when, someday, I have a room in an upper story with boughs bending in the wind outside, my heirloom writing desk glowing with polish, bottles of ink sloshing in the drawers and a shelf of books at my left hand, I will fold my papers into my journal and tuck my glasses into a jacket pocket, and walk out the front door, roving for a place to write.</p>